Professional Development
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nursing

By Arianne Dowdell, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

When we think about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Houston Methodist today, or even five years from now, I envision a hospital that is known for fostering a culture in which the dignity and respect we pay to each other and our patients is recognized not only locally, but in the community and nationally.
DEI is sometimes difficult for people to grasp. When we think about the many ways in which we differ and how we intentionally care for one another, that is, in part, DEI in action. From the creation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to system-wide training opportunities in unconscious bias, gender identity and expression to hiring for inclusion, you will find many ways to learn, get involved and advance DEI both personally and professionally. We are also committed to making sure your voice is heard. For some, it may be navigating the workplace if you are differently abled. For others, it may be the opportunity to have a voice when it comes to your career mobility at Houston Methodist.
Our office is also committed to addressing health inequities that prevent many people from receiving the quality health care they deserve. We’ve created a health-equity committee, whose mission is to uphold the Houston Methodist standard of unparalleled, personalized care and service through fair treatment, access and opportunity for health care and health improvement of all patients. This group will aim to identify and eliminate barriers to health optimization for all populations that we serve.
As nurses, you are not only members of one of the most diverse groups in the organization, you also care for a very diverse patient population. Remember that each patient you meet brings with them their life experiences, religious and spiritual beliefs, previous health-care experiences and more.
When you interact with patients, consider how you are including them in conversations about their health (inclusion). If they are reserved, does a communication gap, lack of trust, or understanding exist? How do we bring down barriers that may exist? As we care for our patients, we want to ensure equity, which is essential in helping them to get to their best health. It is also our goal to make sure you are heard.
As nurses, you are an important part of getting them healthy. Each interaction we have with our patients, from the transport to their room to nursing at the bedside, DEI is always in action. Think about what ensuring equity and inclusion means to you, how you interact with your colleagues and how that translates to your patients.
I’m confident Houston Methodist will become known nationally as one of the best hospitals in terms of its DEI efforts, and with your feedback, effort, and execution, I’m sure we can get there. I look forward to meeting you — in person — in 2022!
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